Alan Biggs' Sheffield Wednesday column: For the sake of EFL's integrity, Owls need to learn their fate - pronto
Bring it on.
Not the standard response to facing disciplinary action, and maybe not the wisest way to put it, but the sooner Sheffield Wednesday know their fate the better.
Those with fingers pointing in the Owls’ direction have their own faults, including a failure to enforce spending controls and opening loopholes.
With that comes a responsibility to reach a swift judgement, not allow such a grave matter to drift on into March, as the EFL did last season before handing Birmingham City a (seemingly carefully calculated) nine-point deduction that saw them get the results to avoid the drop.
For the organisation to bring P and S charges, announced back on November 14, they must have prepared their case. For Wednesday to respond so forcefully, as they did in last week’s fierce public exchange between the parties, they have considered their defence strategy.
What’s missing is a hearing date. If one hasn’t been arranged, perhaps in private, why the delay? Who gains from that?
If, as some are suggesting, Wednesday are to be docked as many as 21 points (which I doubt), they need to know pronto.
If not right now, then ideally before the January window.
The same would apply to a surprise non-sanction or suspended sentence, clearing the club to push for the play-offs.
Quite simply, the Owls have to know how to play this window. Otherwise, their position is impossible. And unfair in that sense.
Of course, the overall problem is self-inflicted and the club has to radically change its approach to trading once the financial clock is reset.
But, for the sake of all clubs and the integrity of the Championship, the matter needs the earliest possible resolution.
Meanwhile, this column has to admit it’s been proved wrong to say Steve Bruce had made a big mistake to quit Hillsborough for Newcastle last summer - without retracting criticism of the way the move was handled.
On that score, I came across Bruce at Bramall Lane last week for the first time since penning strong words on the subject - and then drawing a line under it.
You don’t know and like somebody for 22 years and fall out over one incident. Besides, he could have fallen out with me; he didn’t. Life is too short.
For what it’s worth, Bruce gave me this message: “Look, I let everybody down, I was totally selfish.”
It came after he had repeated that he couldn’t resist a job he regretted turning down 14 years earlier and confessed that he “disappointed a lot of people in Sheffield along the way.”
I asked if he had regrets about that. “Yes,” he said. “I shook the owner’s hand and left on very decent terms. It was all the aftermath which upset me a little bit because there were certain things said against me.
“Look, I let everybody down, I was totally selfish. But it was a wonderful opportunity and simply this time I couldn’t give it up.”
Take it or leave it and I don’t blame Owls fans for feeling the way they do. Maybe a few words along those lines wouldn’t have gone amiss in the summer.
But at least you can say Bruce made several good signings and, far from bearing any blame for the current plight, he made the club a substantial amount in compensation.
We move on to far more important matters in the hope that, for better or worse, they are resolved swiftly.